Letter of Support for SB 102 – Compact for a Balanced Budget

This is a copy of the Letter of Support APF provided to the Senate Finance Committee on May 18, 2021.

Click here to open a printable PDF of the Letter in a new tab.

Senate Bill 102
Compact For A Balanced Budget

Senate Finance Committee
Senator Bishop, Co-Chair
Senator Stedman, Co-Chair
Senator Hoffman, Member
Senator von Imhof, Member
Senator Wilson, Member
Senator Olson, Member
Senator Wielechowski, Member

Alaska Policy Forum supports Senate Bill 102, An Act Relating To The Compact For A
Balanced Budget.

Federal deficits and the federal debt have risen steadily since 2002. Regardless of
which party sat in the White House or controlled the two bodies of Congress, the
United States government has run annual deficits ranging from a low of $161 billion to
a high of $4.7 trillion.

Again, these deficits and the additions they bring to the national debt, have all been
passed by Congress and signed by the President, regardless of party affiliation, making
it abundantly clear that our federal government has not, and will not, spend within its
revenue streams. One cannot even blame the Keynesian argument that deficit
spending is acceptable during tough economic times because deficit spending has
occurred during the good times as well as the bad.

Elected officials, economists, and the citizenry have gasped annually at the size of
deficits, warning each other that we cannot continue digging this hole and survive. But
dig that hole we have, and our national debt now stands at over $27 trillion, which is
higher than our annual gross domestic product. Yet, further, and more massive
expenditures are being proposed at present.

There is an approach that will work: the Compact for a Balanced Budget, formed in
2014 by two former governors, including Sean Parnell of Alaska. This compact is a
binding commitment to put a halt to continual federal deficits and rising debt. Its
objective is to organize a constitutional convention for the singular purpose of
proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment.

This Constitutional amendment would do the following: put a fixed limit on the amount
of federal debt; ensure that spending cannot exceed revenue – with the sole exception
of borrowing under the fixed limit; initiate spending impoundments when 98 percent of
the fixed limit is reached; mandate that all possible spending cuts are considered prior
to instituting new taxes by requiring new tax measures to be approved by a super
majority; and empower the State legislatures with oversight approval of any increases
in the federal debt.

This amendment will provide a true federal balanced budget. Tough decisions will have
to be made about which federal programs are most important and which we can
actually do without.

The Compact will need three-fourths of the States to prevent the movement from
sunsetting. Alaska Policy Forum encourages this committee to continue to lead this
movement by passing Senate Bill 102.

Thank you for the opportunity to voice our support.

Tim Barto
Vice President External Relations
Alaska Policy Forum